Frederick Burkhardt Residential Fellows

ACLS created the Frederick Burkhardt Residential Fellowships for Recently Tenured Scholars to support scholars in the humanities and social sciences in the crucial years immediately following the granting of tenure, and to provide emerging leaders in their fields with the resources to pursue long-term, unusually ambitious projects. The 2020 cohort is the twenty-first and final for the program, which over the past two decades has supported nearly 275 scholars as they took up year-long residencies at independent research centers and universities.
The Burkhardt Fellowships are generously supported by The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. They are named for the late Frederick Burkhardt, President Emeritus of ACLS, whose decades of work on The Correspondence of Charles Darwin constitute a signal example of dedication to a demanding and ambitious scholarly enterprise.

Read more about this fellowship program.

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Watch "Emerging Themes and Methods of Research: A Discussion with ACLS Fellows," an annual meeting session featuring recent ACLS fellows. 

Andrew Chignell
Andrew Chignell  |  Abstract
The main goal of this project is to develop a new, systematic (albeit broadly Kantian) account of hope, one that is sensitive both to the history of the concept and to recent empirical research. After a brief historical survey, the project looks at the nature, objects, and varieties of hope and contrasts them with related states like expectation, anticipation, acceptance, absence of despair, and especially optimism. An important hallmark of the project is that it explicitly discusses and incorporates recent social science research throughout (psychology and nursing science, especially). It also discusses ways in which this sort of secular, empirically-informed account of hope relates to more familiar debates in moral psychology, epistemology, philosophy of religion, and political philosophy.

Associate Professor, Sage School of Philosophy, Cornell University  -  Hope at the Intersection of Philosophy and Psychology
For residence at the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences during academic year 2015-2016

Erez Manela
Erez Manela  |  Abstract
This project is the first critical history of the World Health Organization’s global Smallpox Eradication Program (SEP), 1965-80, examining it within its broader historical, political, intellectual, cultural, and institutional contexts. Smallpox, an ancient disease, still caused an estimated 300 million deaths in the twentieth century, and its eradication was therefore a major historical event. The project uses the SEP to shed new light on the history of the Cold War, postcolonial international relations, and the role of international organizations in the postwar world. It is based on a wide range of sources, including archives, official publications, professional literature, personal accounts (memoirs, autobiographies), media reports, and oral history.

Professor, History, Harvard University  -  The Eradication of Smallpox: Collaboration amid Conflict in the Cold War Era
For residence at the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study during academic year 2014-2015

Adria L. Imada
Adria L. Imada  |  Abstract
"Capturing Leprosy" investigates medical photography of leprosy (Hansen’s disease) and its critical role in the legal, medical, and sexual management of US colonial subjects from the late-nineteenth to mid-twentieth century. Centered on Hawai‘i and the Philippines, US colonial possessions that administered leprosy settlements, this project examines how photography operated as a mode of scientific experimentation that brought indigenous and immigrant populations from the Pacific into visibility as potential pathogens. In its most expansive sense, it considers how racial difference and disease were constituted through visual culture. Its second objective is to theorize patient-centered visual paradigms of disability and wellness, utilizing the visual practices of exiled leprosarium patients. Bridging history of medicine, visual studies, and bioethics, it further assesses how decolonizing principles are reshaping bioethics and clinical training at the site of a former leprosy settlement.

Associate Professor, Ethnic Studies, University of California, San Diego  -  Capturing Leprosy: The Medical Gaze in America’s Pacific Empire
For residence at the Huntington Library during academic year 2014-2015

Nara Milanich
Nara Milanich  |  Abstract
Today genetic parentage testing is widely used in a variety of social and legal contexts. This project asks how the history of these tests has shaped their present uses and meanings. Tracing paternity testing from its origins in the early twentieth century, it explores how and why identity and descent were first figured as scientific problems and what consequences testing had for men, women, and children, as well as states and societies. First heralded as a tool for identifying errant fathers and adulterous wives, testing soon exercised an influence far beyond family law. Absorbed into welfare policies and cultural imaginaries, it promised to revolutionize sexual mores, gender relations, and children’s rights. Incorporated into immigration proceedings, such techniques assessed not only kinship but citizenship. This cross-cultural history shows that even as parentage testing purports to deliver incontrovertible truths, its cultural meanings, social uses, and public regulation have always varied markedly across global societies.

Associate Professor, History, Barnard College  -  Family Matters: Testing Paternity in the Twentieth Century
For residence at the John W. Kluge Center at the Library of Congress during academic year 2014-2015

Alexa Alice Joubin
Alexa Alice Joubin  |  Abstract
The project identifies three broad themes that distinguish interpretations of local cultures and Shakespeare in modern Japan, Korea, China, Taiwan, and Singapore from their counterparts in other parts of the world: they are leading to a more equitable globalization in artistic terms, they serve as a forum where artists and audiences can grapple with contemporary issues, and through international tour activities they are reshaping debates about the relationships between the East and the West. Asian interpretations of Shakespeare matter to Western readers because of their impact on American and European performance cultures, as exemplified by the worldwide recognition of the works of Ong Keng Sen, Akira Kurosawa, and their peers. The history of East Asian Shakespeares as a body of works—as opposed to random stories about cross-cultural encounter—allows us to better understand the processes of localizing artistic ideas through transnational collaboration.

Professor, English, The George Washington University  -  Shakespeare and East Asia
For residence at the Folger Shakespeare Library during academic year 2015-2016

Margaret O'Mara
Margaret O'Mara  |  Abstract
“Silicon Age” is a history of the late-twentieth century United States told through the lens of the high-tech revolution. The permeation of computer hardware and software into nearly every aspect of American life has been among the more significant and astonishing features of the post-1970 era, yet the industry and its people have been bit players in broader scholarly narratives of the nation’s political, urban, and social history. Moving high technology from the periphery to the center of the modern historiography, the project frames high-tech’s ascent as a story of politics and culture (not simply of technology and technologists). In doing so, it addresses and reconsiders important social shifts in the nature of work, the landscape of cities, and in national politics.

Associate Professor, History, University of Washington  -  Silicon Age: High Technology and the Reinvention of the United States, 1970-2000
For residence at the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences during academic year 2014-2015

Patrick Keating
Patrick Keating  |  Abstract
This project offers a book-length history of camera movement in Hollywood cinema, situating the cinematic device of the moving camera within a technological, industrial, and aesthetic context, while arguing that Hollywood filmmakers used this formal strategy to celebrate and sometimes challenge American modernity. With an emphasis on films set in characteristically modern spaces such as office buildings and train stations, this history traces several recurring motifs of camera movement from the 1920s to the 1970s, considering how the mobile frame expresses ideas about the dynamism, seriality, and connectedness of an increasingly urban and industrial consumer capitalist culture. The research will be accompanied by a companion digital resource featuring illustrative clips from numerous landmark films.

Associate Professor, Communication, Trinity University  -  A Dynamic Frame: The Moving Camera, Hollywood Narrative, and American Modernity
For residence at the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study during academic year 2014-2015

Serguei A. Oushakine
Serguei A. Oushakine  |  Abstract
This project explores forms of historical imagination that started taking shape in postcommunist Eurasia. Using archival, visual and ethnographic materials collected in Minsk, Belarus and Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan, it shows how post-utopian societies lose any interest in the appeal of futurity and focus instead on finding a better historical past. Narratives of new sovereignties are structured as alternatives to histories of recent occupations; the dispossession of previously foundational myths of origin is couched in the language of decolonization. Bringing together architecture, contemporary film and photography, politics of knowledge and accounts of daily life, the book examines postcolonial practices that “provincialize” and decenter mainstream (and usually Russia-focused) accounts of the massive Soviet experiment that radically changed social, cultural, and political landscape of Eurasia during the twentieth century.

Associate Professor, Anthropology and Slavic Languages and Literatures, Princeton University  -  Disowned History: Soviet Pasts in the Afterlives of Empire
For residence at the Institute for Advanced Study, School of Social Science during academic year 2014-2015

Christopher MacEvitt
Christopher MacEvitt  |  Abstract
This project explores how western Christians came to think about Jerusalem, the Holy Land and Islam differently in the fourteenth century. As crusader Jerusalem was re-conquered by Muslims in the thirteenth century, two contrasting visions of Jerusalem developed. The Christian survivors of the Muslim conquest sought to reclaim their lost lands, and remembered Jerusalem through the lens of loss. Franciscans developed their own sense of Jerusalem’s value, one that did not seek to return Jerusalem to Christian rule, but saw it as inalterably Muslim. At the same time, the Holy Places were re-created in various sites in Italy. In the end, the Franciscan vision of Jerusalem dominated, which has influenced how western Christians have viewed the Holy Land and the Islamic Middle East for centuries.

Associate Professor, Religion, Dartmouth College  -  Jerusalem Lost: the Holy Land and Islam in Christian Memory
For residence at the American Academy in Rome during academic year 2015-2016

Paul A. Scolieri
Paul A. Scolieri  |  Abstract
Ted Shawn (1891–1972), "The Father of American Dance," was a pioneer of twentieth-century American performance. Based on extensive archival research, the project examines Shawn's work in relation to emerging modern ideas about gender, sexuality, race, and ethnicity, especially as they converged in the discourses of eugenics, social evolution, and sexology. By illuminating Shawn's relationships to artists and scientists who were leading a radical movement to depathologize homosexuality (such as Havelock Ellis and Alfred Kinsey), the study exposes the critical and material intersections between the histories of dance and gay culture in the United States.

Associate Professor, Dance, Barnard College  -  Ted Shawn and the Invention of American Dance
For residence at the John W. Kluge Center at the Library of Congress during academic year 2014-2015